Obverse. Photo © Downies
  • 50 Cents 2006, KM# 801, Australia, Elizabeth II, 80th Anniversary of Birth of Elizabeth II
  • 50 Cents 2006, KM# 801, Australia, Elizabeth II, 80th Anniversary of Birth of Elizabeth II
Description

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 80th birthday in 2006 with many special events and activities. In the month prior to her birthday on 21st April, she had travelled to Australia for a visit which included opening the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. A commemorative 50c was issued for the occasion of this special milestone, her 80th birthday.

The coin was minted as a NCLT issue (not for circulation in an informative purple card) and also as a selectively gold plated silver proof in a 2-coin set.

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 1926–2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and of 14 other Commonwealth realms. Her reign of 70 years and seven months, which began on 6 February 1952, was the longest of any British monarch in history.

When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth—then 25 years old—became queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), as well as Head of the Commonwealth. Elizabeth reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonisation of Africa, and the United Kingdom's accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union. The number of her realms varied over time as territories have gained independence and some realms have become republics.

Times of personal significance have included the births and marriages of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond, and Platinum jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively.

Obverse

Fourth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara was a wedding present in 1947 from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who received it as a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later George V. Made by E. Wolfe & Co., it was purchased from Garrard & Co. by a committee organised by Lady Eve Greville. In 1914, Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 diamonds in place of the large oriental pearls surmounting the tiara. At first, Elizabeth wore the tiara without its base and pearls but the base was reattached in 1969. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is one of Elizabeth's most recognisable pieces of jewellery due to its widespread use on British banknotes and coinage.

Engraver: Ian Rank-Broadley

ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 2004
IRB

Reverse

Depicts a ring of British flags around "ER" which means Elizabeth Regina, the word Regina being Latin for Queen. St Edward's Crown with 80 behind completes the design.

St Edward's Crown is one of the oldest Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom and the centrepiece of the coronation regalia. Named after Edward the Confessor, it has traditionally been used to crown English and British monarchs at their coronation ceremonies. The current version was made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661.

Engraver: Stuart Devlin

80
EIIR
50

Edge
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 15.55 g
Diameter 31.5 mm
Thickness 3 mm
Shape polygon
Sides 12
Alignment Medal
Mint
Royal Australian Mint (RAM)

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